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Second Chance Saloon in Columbia to close its doors Saturday after 12 years

Second Chance Saloon, located in the Oakland Mills Village Center, is closing Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Second Chance Saloon, located in the Oakland Mills Village Center, is closing Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda)

A neighborhood bar in Columbia is closing its doors this weekend.

The owners of Second Chance Saloon, a bar in the Oakland Mills Village Center, said the increased development around The Mall in Columbia and the coronavirus pandemic both played a role in the decision to close. The pub’s last day open is Saturday.

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“Neighborhood bars aren’t what they used to be,” co-owner Jacquie Ramsey said. “Everything is building up around [The Mall in Columbia], so we’ve had to deal with that the last couple years, too. There are all these new great restaurants around the mall. They’re name-brand restaurants, and we’re a mom-and-pop restaurant. The people who support us kept us going for 12 years. It’s difficult to keep a mom-and-pop restaurant through all this.”

Second Chance Saloon, which offered more than 100 beers, billiards and trivia nights, opened in December 2008.

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Located next to Other Barn, Second Chance replaced Last Chance Saloon, a longtime bar and restaurant that closed in 2004. In 2012, Second Chance was nominated for best bar in the state by the Restaurant Association of Maryland.

Co-owners Declan Wood and Wendy Binder were the original owners and later made Ramsey, a waitress and bartender at the saloon, a co-owner. All three are Montgomery County residents.

“We’ve been in it for 12 years,” said Ramsey, 41. “We’ve had a good run. It’s just time. We’re going to miss it. This place is our life, it’s our family.”

Second Chance Saloon was in danger of closing in December 2013 because it hadn’t re-signed its lease with Cedar Realty Trust for the following year. When the news of the bar’s possible closure in 2013, then-County Executive Ken Ulman and then-County Council member Calvin Ball both threw their support behind the saloon.

“I believe that the loss of Second Chance would be a significant blow to a commercial area and a community that appreciates this popular establishment,” Ulman wrote in a letter to Cedar Realty Trust in 2013.

“We consider Second Chance Saloon the Cheers of Columbia. You’re always greeted with a warm welcome and smile when connecting with neighbors, family and friends,” Ball wrote.

Wood, 51, said he’s grateful for the people in the Oakland Mills community who have supported the saloon for the last dozen years.

“We’ve been a very good neighbor to the community,” Wood said. “We’ve done a lot of charity work and work with Oakland Mills High School. That’s what we’ll miss the most. I think we’ll leave a slight hole in the neighborhood, and I hope people agree with that. We really appreciate Oakland Mills High School and the local schools and the teachers who have supported us through thick and thin.”

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